Homeowners and appraisers are slowly starting to get on the same page when it comes to measuring home values, a new gauge shows.
Quicken Loans' Home Price Perception Index, a measure of the gap between appraiser and homeowner opinions of home values, shows appraisers' home value estimates were on average 1.56 percent higher than homeowners nationally.
"Mortgage financing often hinges on whether the appraised value coincides with the home values agreed upon by the homebuyer and seller in the case of a home purchase, and the homeowner's estimate value in the case of a refinance," said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans. "It is reassuring to see the gap between appraiser opinions and homeowner opinions narrow, and if we had to choose a side of the fence, it makes for a much smoother mortgage process if appraisers are valuing homes above homeowners' estimates like we're seeing, as compared to the opposite."
While November's index represents a slightly smaller gap than in October, when appraiser opinions were 1.58 percent higher than homeowners' estimates, it was wider than a year ago, when the difference was 1.34 percent and widening.
According to Quicken's survey, appraiser opinions were higher than homeowner estimates in nearly three-quarters of markets analyzed, with differences ranging as high as 6.0 percent in areas like San Jose. On the other side, in Kansas City, homeowners actually valued their homes 2.53 percent higher than appraisal professionals.
Quicken also reported a 0.27 percent monthly increase in its Home Value Index for November, a drop-off of nearly 90 percent from October's monthly gain. The index is based solely on appraisal data.
Regionally, values saw slight gains in the South (+0.17 percent), Midwest (+0.42 percent), and Northeast (+1.23 percent). Home values in the West were down 0.19 percent for the month.
"The great differences in home value changes across the country show just how localized housing markets really are," Walters said. "The housing market is mending at a national level, but the recovery in some areas is moving more swiftly and others have been lagging. Homebuyers and sellers can make better financial decisions by educating themselves about their local housing markets."